Talk to Al Jazeera
Nadine Gordimer: 'The culture of corruption'
What happened to the democracy that Nelson Mandela and other South African leaders ushered in?
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2012 14:18

Social unrest these days is part of the fabric of South African life. The promise of what was once called the rainbow nation still to be realised.

A different perhaps more ominous chapter has opened in this country - there is widespread public discontent with with what is perceived as endemic corruption, and deep disappointment if not anger at the gross inequality that is still so much part of the society.

How did it come to this? What happened to the democracy that Nelson Mandela and other great leaders ushered in?

Talk to Al Jazeera speaks to South African writer Nadine Gordimer, who for decades has provided a mirror in which the people of South Africa could view themselves.
Since publishing her first short story over 60 years ago Gordimer has produced dozens of novels, essays and plays, with her work being a meander through love and politics in her native land. The characters drawn from those around her - their voices that rang loud through decades of apartheid continue to sound in the years since the end of the white regime.
She was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991. “Her magnificent epic writing," said the citation, "has been of very great benefit to humanity”.
She became a member of the African National Congress at a time when the movement was outlawed in South Africa and though many of her works were banned, she never stopped writing, never softened the voices of those entangled in the racist maze that was the system of apartheid.
And in the years since the ANC came to power she subjected the new rulers to the same honest and rigorous scrutiny she applied to the white government they replaced.
She continues to probe, to reveal truths that many would rather remain hidden. And above all, Nadine Gordimer continues to reject censorship of ideas in any form, her mantra unchanged through decades that a people can only be free if they are free to say what they want.

Talk to Al Jazeera can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Saturday: 0430; Sunday: 0830, 1930; and Monday: 1430.

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